In the years since I started Happily Eating, I’ve never celebrated all of the success from the years past, but this year I felt I needed to take a moment to go down memory lane. I’ve come so far with the blog and I had no idea that when I started in 2013, I would have some experiences and develop some friendships that will last a lifetime.
Four years may not seem very long in blog years, but let me tell you, these four years have brought about challenges that I did not expect. There were times that I wanted to quit, but every time someone told me that they visited a restaurant that I recommended or tried a recipe that I created, it pushed me to keep going.
Read on and take a moment to walk down memory lane with me as we celebrate together Happily Eating’s Four Year Blog Anniversary! 😁
What has changed since 2013? A LOT!!
🎼 “Started from the bottom now we’re here” – Drake
We have come a long way with these photos! 🙌🏾 😂 The very first post on HE were these Roasted Garlic Wings on September 30th, 2013. I’d posted so many photos on Instagram of the food I was preparing and people would ask all of the time for recipes and that is where HE began. At this point, I had been unemployed since May (due to a layoff), so I had no money for a fancy camera or to do a nice setup. It was just me, my iPhone 4 and the light over the kitchen stove lol.
Fast forward to January 2016, where I had a chance to collaborate with Sprouts Farmers Market to create several game day recipes. Although at this point I still did not have a DSLR camera, I’d gotten a little better with my staging and angles. Can you believe I used my iPhone 5 to capture this? I have to say that this photo of my buffalo chicken flatbread came out pretty well!
By May of this year, I’d really taken the time to study food staging. In this picture of a project that I worked on with Adagio Teas, you can see that my skills had progressed 🙌🏾 I’ve stopped using the iPhone and invested in a DSLR which up’d my photography game by a thousand. I haven’t stopped using my slab of marble as the background yet, but I will one day lol.
In only two short years of blogging, I was able to snag my first press trip. I had a chance to travel to Jekyll Island, GA where I stayed at the historic Jekyll Island Resort. I was so excited for an opportunity to travel for HE because that was the next step for me. Ideally my dream is to be the female Anthony Bourdain lol.
Fast forward to one year later, where I snagged one of the biggest press trips ever! I had a chance to go on a week long trip to Saba and St. Maarten! HE has afforded me numerous opportunities including a chance to work for an online publication. I snagged a job with Hospitality21 and was invited on a press trip with other journalists. This was such a big deal because I never thought about where HE would take me. It never occurred to me all of the doors that could open from blogging. I was super thankful for the opportunity because I had a chance to spend an entire week with some super amazing people and to do some things that were entirely out of my comfort zone.
With the recent devastation in the Caribbean, St. Maarten was one of the hardest hit. It is such a beautiful island with beautiful people. It was hard to see the entire island destroyed. I know that I will contribute what I can to bring it back to where it once was. My heart is with everyone there.
Despite having a blog on the internet and several social media accounts, I am a lot more private than it looks lol. I’ve always been a “behind the scenes” person, so when The Capital Grille reached out to me about hosting a media dinner, I nervously responded to them with a yes! I’ve organized events before as I’ve put together holiday parties for my office several times and with pretty hefty budgets. But this was different. This was a Happily Eating event. Thankfully, it wasn’t difficult to get my fellow media folks come out for some quality steak and cocktails lol. The staff took amazing care of us and I received nothing but positive feedback from my peers.
Earlier this year, M-Squared PR and Davio’s reached out to me to host a mixer with one of my good friends Erica from Eating With Erica. Erica and I started blogging around the same time and her brand has completely taken off! We’ve been in these ATL food streets for some time now, so it was only right that we do something together. I was more nervous about this event than The Capital Grille because this wasn’t a media event. We invited all of our readers and followers to come out and that is what they did. We had a great crowd, delicious cocktails and some of those infamous Davio’s spring rolls.
Taking the adventure to video
Taking a step out of my comfort zone in 2016, I launched a YouTube Channel with the idea of sharing some “behind the scenes” of blogging. I shared a couple of videos on How I Became A Food Blogger and some vlogs with a little BTS on what its like attending food tastings and events. It was fun and slightly weird to carry the camera around with me, but I really enjoyed creating and editing videos and to my surprise I received a lot of positive feedback!
So whats next for Happily Eating?
Over the years, I’ve been able to maintain my weight and health pretty well. But honestly, with all of the eating out it can take a toll on the body. Although I will never be that person eating dry chicken and vegetables lol, I want to do better and I plan to make a conscious effort to do so.
Piggybacking off of living a healthier lifestyle, I want to also incorporate that into HE through recipes and restaurants that I’ve found with some healthy options. I’ve been feeling the need to get back to my roots with doing recipes, because the restaurant reviews have completely taken over the site. Get ready to see your girl get back in the kitchen!
Of course more traveling is on the agenda! I have several trips coming up within the next few months that includes, Jamaica, a cruise to the Bahamas and I’m headed back to Jekyll Island to visit a new oceanfront resort that just opened. Get ready to tag a long with me, as I plan to do more travel videos as well as share my experiences via photography.
What other types of content do you want to see?
When you first start blogging, you are creating content that you want to see. But HE isn’t just about me anymore, its about you too! I want to know what kind of posts you want! Is it more recipes? More food education? Videos? Let me know in the comments or send me an email!
There is no better way to celebrate a blog anniversary than to look at photos of some great memories. Without the support of my readers (YOU) HE would not be here. I would not have a chance to work with amazing brands, eat fantastic food or take memorable trips. Thank you, thank you THANK YOU!! 😁
Cheers to another year of Happily Eating, Traveling and Living!! xoxo